Characterstics of Bryophytes
- Bryophytes are non-vascular, terrestrial plants of moist habitats.
- The multicellular, diploid sporophyte of bryophytes lives as a parasite on an independent, multicellular, haploid gametophyte.
- They lack roots. Instead unicellular or multicellular rhizoids occur.
- Vegetative reproduction is quite common through fragmentation, tubers, gemmae, buds and adventitious branches.
- Sex organs are multicellular and jacketed; male-antheridium and female-archegonium.
- An external layer of water is essential for the swimming of male gametes to the archegonia.
Types of Bryophytes
Bryophytes are of following three types – Hepaticopsida (liverworts), Anthocerotopsida (hornworts) and Bryopsida (mosses).
- The thallus is dorsiventral flattened, dichotomously branched, with or without leaf appendages.
- They have multicellular rhizoids and multicellular scales.
- The sporophyte is completely parasitic e.g. Marchantia, Porella, Pellia etc.
- The common name i.e hornworts refers to the elongated, horn-like structure which is the sporophyte.
- They grow in damp or humid places e.g. Anthoceros, Nothoceros, etc.
- They are foliose bryophytes having radial symmetry.
- They possess multicellular rhizoids with oblique septa.
- Their branched, filamentous, juvenile, stage is called protonema.
- Sex organs occur in clusters over the tips of branches.
- Sporophyte or sporogonium has a central columella an assimilatory tissue and acellular peristome which helps in spore dispersal e.g. Funaria, Polytrichum, Sphagnum.